Friday 29 April 2011

Planning cost 1,000 jobs, says group

IRELAND RECENTLY lost 1,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector to the UK because our planning system is such a “a quagmire”, An Taisce’s national energy officer said yesterday.

Elizabeth Muldowney said a Spanish company involved in wind energy had investigated the possibility of locating in Ireland but had decided to set up in Britain instead because of the inconsistencies and uncertainty surrounding planning here.

She visited Madrid in recent weeks in an unsuccessful attempt to get the company to reverse its decision.

Ms Muldowney was participating in a debate at the Robert John Kane energy symposium in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim about the need for an energy-specific planning body that could enable the sector to bypass local authorities and An Bord Pleanála.

Most speakers at the event criticised the lack of consistency among county planners.

Former environment minister Dick Roche described inconsistency as the “evil at the heart of the planning system”.

He said his experience was that “if I knew which planner was handling a file I would also be able to say what the decision will be”.

Irish Times

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